Period dramas were the big winners on the day at Canneseries and Mip TV’s In Development pitching sessions. German 1993-set murder-mystery “The Sources of Evil” and Canadian 1978-based “Whatever, Linda,” were announced as joint winners of the two prizes granted at the event by Federation Entertainment and La Fabrique des Formats.
Pascal Breton’s Federation Ent. (“Marseille”) one of the most energetic of independent Europe-based production-sales houses, will co-develop, co-produce and distribute the two winners, while the French film-TV think-tank La Fabrique des Formats will help with financing.
Twelve projects competed in total, eight classified as in development and four as a more upstream early-stage. The sessions were designed to allow the projects, chosen from more than 300 submissions representing 46 countries, to pitch to a bevy of high-level industry professionals who fired off often highly relevant questions after an eight-minute or so presentation.
“The Sources of Evil” is set in former East Germany, during a period in which initial enthusiasm after the Wall came down has started to wane, and a depressed malaise slowly creeps in to replace it. As hard-core right-wing agitators commit acts of violence and theft across the city, the local police are steadily losing control of the streets. Amidst this rising chaos, the mutilated body of a young woman is discovered near the former East-West border.
Two detectives are called in to investigate, and initial clues direct the partners towards the emerging Neo-Nazi scene. But, the more experienced of the two thinks they might be looking for a serial killer who was allowed to operate with near impunity due to the confusion between the governments of East and West Germany.
Germany’s Hamburg and Berlin-based Wuste Film is producing the series with TV vet Catharina Junk writing. In the past Junk has worked on feature films and TV, including two International Emmy nominated series: “13 Hours: Race Against Time,” and “Berlin, Berlin.”
“The Sources of Evil” will be directed by established German filmmaker Thomas Stuber, who has competed at Berlinale with his films “In the Aisles” and “Teenage Angst.”
“I find that evil is not in any political system, but in the human soul,” the series concludes. It’s a chilling and poignant by-line for a period-series that promises to be uncomfortably familiar to modern audiences.
Co-created by Hannah Cheesman and Julian De Zotti and produced by Canada’s The Donaldson Company Inc, “Whatever, Linda” is described by Cheesman as “Sex and the City” meets Coen Brothers.” Late ‘70s New York City sets the stage for the series, which is a financial thriller influenced by the Bernie Madoff scandal that rocked the world of finance a decade ago.
In this case, lead character Linda Thoroughbred will team with a group of four low-level secretaries to initiate a Ponzi scheme which will target many of the city’s wealthiest elites. Thoroughbred is described as fiercely intelligent, ambitious and charming, and will lead her team of swindlers towards execution of the world’s largest ever case of financial fraud.
“This show is about the universality of getting screwed over,” De Zotti said while pitching at In Development, “and how far you’re willing to go when your back is against the wall.”
It’s the kind of social-issue resonant drama which Federation Ent. often backs, such as with “Bad Banks,” one of the highest-profile drama series at this year’s Berlinale.